Ben Affleck’s third movie, Argo, is his best so far. Argo is based on the true story of six Americans who escaped the hostage situation in Tehran (that begin in 1979) and hid with the Canadian ambassador. Those six people have to be flown out of Tehran, but the question is how to do that without the Iranians discovering they are Americans and not Canadians.
There are some flaws in the movie, namely the oversimplification (as Hollywood does so well) of the behind-the-scenes politics that had been going on for years to bring the whole situation to a head. Also, from what I’ve read, it seems that some of the scenes in the movie, especially toward the end, are over-dramatized to add more tension and slightly misleading.
Those flaws aside, the movie was captivating and quite thrilling. The drama, whether amped up for Hollywood or not, will certainly keep the audience’s attention. What is also fascinating is how well they captured the look of the era–the clothes, the hair, the tensions, and more importantly, the terror in the streets of Tehran. While all the hostages are eventually released, Tehran remained a dangerous place for those who wouldn’t toe the line. If you don’t believe me, read Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. But I digress.
What was most surprising to me about Argo was the humor. I wasn’t expecting a movie about hostages and secret rescue missions to be so funny, but it was. Much of the humor is a dark humor, but it rings true to how people would have reacted in such a situation. Alan Arkin and John Goodman’s Hollywood characters add a lot of the humor, although the CIA agent O’Donnell, played by Bryan Cranston, has some of the best lines.
Argo is a thrilling and entertaining movie about a frightening time in American history. Even though the story is a little doctored, it is still well worth watching. This is a movie that, while it will be good on a TV, is worth the money to watch in theaters. The large screen of a theater makes the terrifying mobs in Tehran more realistic, and it makes the Hollywood scenes more opulent in comparison. I recommend you watch this movie in the theater if you get the chance.